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  1. #1
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    Default Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    The bank for this REO property had us replace this panel for the melting viewed here. The job's been completed but my electrical sub was clueless as to the cause. Any idea's on the cause of this?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Bad connection(s) between breaker and the bus bar.

    You also replaced that breaker, right?

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Interesting. yea, we replaced the entire panel with new breakers. It's what they requested.


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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    If you really study the photo you will see that the 100 Amp breaker did not fully engage the buss. I am surprised there was not only this damage but appliance or plug-in equipment damage.


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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    My question would be--Was an approved breaker used? And currently one would have to have the screw to hold it to the buss. Assuming that it is a back-fed main breaker.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    My guess is that the 100A service is too small for the load.


  7. #7
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    The bus bar the 100 amp breaker is plugged onto does not look like it is as thick as the bus bar the 40 amp breaker is plugged onto. This allowed for the connection to heat up.


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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    And currently one would have to have the screw to hold it to the buss. Assuming that it is a back-fed main breaker.
    I'm presuming it feeds another panel, that it is not the main, however, if your assumption is correct, then, yes, it would need to be held down in the approved manner for that breaker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    My guess is that the 100A service is too small for the load.
    Then the breaker would trip, removing the problem.

    James, all the bus bar breaker tabs look the same.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    The 100 amp bus bars look to be thinner and not made the same as the others. I enlarged the picture for more details.

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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    James,

    I superimposed one on the other by just copying it and pasting it at the other (mirror image flip). Same size (the width is the same, as is the height, the height looks different because of the perspective).

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    My question would be--Was an approved breaker used? And currently one would have to have the screw to hold it to the buss. Assuming that it is a back-fed main breaker.
    If it is a factory installed main in a listed enclosure,it does not need a hold down and also the requirement for plug-in type back fed circuit breakers was in the 1990 NEC for the 1st time so one must be aware of the approx. time the panel was installed.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    If you look at the thread from Ron Bibler it is the exact same situation and could possible be something inherent in that type of panel. I am not sure what type of panel Rons was but looks to be the same and the same location for that 100 amp breaker.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Ted that looks just like my panel. i could not find a name on it. did you find a name?

    See these other photos.

    Best

    Ron

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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Ron, is that a GE logo stamped on that bottom breaker? I can't make it out clearly, but it looks familiar.

    Jim Luttrall
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Yep. its a GE. the only one. did you get a ID on that panel Jim ?

    I can to go back and look one more time.

    Best

    Ron

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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    That panel is a Challenger, successor to Zinsco/Sylvania....


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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    If it is a factory installed main in a listed enclosure,it does not need a hold down and also the requirement for plug-in type back fed circuit breakers was in the 1990 NEC for the 1st time so one must be aware of the approx. time the panel was installed.
    Rollie,

    If it is back-fed, regardless whether the manufacturer installed it (highly unlikely) or when it was installed (say 1960) it still needs to be written up as current knowledge recognizes that installation as an unsafe installation.

    Home inspector cannot "require" anything to be repaired, but home inspector certainly are expect to report (write up) things which need to be addressed, for many reasons, including unsafe conditions.

    Now, if an electrician comes in and signs a letter stating that it is okay instead of just going ahead and correcting it, then I would take that letter down to the building department and ask the building official or chief electrical inspector about it. There would be a good chance that the electrician who signed that letter would be receiving a call from the building official or chief electrical inspector asking why he wrote that letter instead of correcting the condition - it is up to them to take it from there.

    Been there, done that, electricians have received anywhere from a slap on the wrist to losing their license (because my inquiry lead to the discovery of other problems they were doing wrong, in one case it lead to the discovery that the "electrician" was actually not even licensed, his dad was, and his dad was aware that his son was "using the dad's license" as though the son was licensed, BOTH ended up being penalized).

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    I was going to stop at a few home on the street of my inspection. ask an owner if he would open his panel up and let me look. off the record. There is a 200 home track that looks like they all have this same panel.

    Best

    Ron


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    If the installation was legal at the time of installation, it continues to be legal today, Period.

    No governemnt official, of any jurisdiction, has the authority to 'write a letter' asking someone to explain why they failed to change something that was in compliance with the law. Could you imagine the DMV asking you to justify why you failed to replace a 1961 Corvair classic with a 'safer' 2005 "Smart" car? Government just does not have that authority in the "land of the free."

    "Current beliefs" are, like current laws, not to be enfoced retrocatively.

    Returning to this panel ... nothing is perfect, and nothing lasts forever. If the panel was, in fact, factory made in a certain manner, and listed in that manner, one clearly has no need to 'improve' upon it. In code as in comedy, timing is everything.

    The implied threat of 'going to the city' presupposes an awful lot. While every citizen has the right, even duty, to enforce the law, and report violations .... differences of opinion between a legally unqualified person, and one who is legally qualified, are a slam-dunk: the self-appointed crusader finds his complaint to be rejected. On the stand, the unqualified party isn't allowed to offer an opinion.

    Perhaps there is the supposition that "Big Brother is watching." Some may like that state of affairs ..... but none of them were at that convention in Philadelphia a couple centuries ago. For those who do like overwhelming administrative control there are plenty of other countries that use that model. It's no accident that these other places are a lot less safe than the USA.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    If it is a factory installed part of a listed & labeled panel, there is nothing wrong w/ it other then being a POS panel in the 1st place, One thing to remember CODES ARE NOT RETROACTIVE if it was code compliant when installed.There are untold numbers of that panel of various manufacturers out here in CA and they w/ the exception of that one, quite safe.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    perfect responce


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    If the installation was legal at the time of installation, it continues to be legal today, Period.
    John,

    You always come in here and try to defend the old, stating that if it was legal once upon a time, it is legal now.

    I keep trying to get you to understand that home inspectors are not bound by what was legal once upon a time ... that if current thinking and standards have decided that it is not as safe as it should be, and have thus since changed it, then it is the home inspectors job to report it.

    Period.

    Now, you, as the electrician, may try to convince the seller that it does not need to be replaced, but that has no bearing on what the buyer is willing to accept. YOU may just be encouraging the seller to lose a sale.

    And, if by chance, the sale goes through and there is an occurrence from the home inspector written up item and your 'be damed if it was good enough for grandpa it is good enough for me' attitude, well, YOU might just end up in court having to defend why you defended something which was outdated and no longer considered safe, and which resulted in (pick one): fire; injury; loss of life.

    I can just see the judge when they turn to you and say "You have been found responsible for your actions as they relate to the (pick on): fire; injury; loss of life. Period.

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    If it is a factory installed part of a listed & labeled panel, there is nothing wrong w/ it other then being a POS panel in the 1st place,
    And that somehow makes it ... "nothing wrong w/ it"?

    Rollie, you've lost me there, it is either the "POS panel" you said it was, or there is "nothing wrong w/ it" ... but not both - have have to pick one.

    One thing to remember CODES ARE NOT RETROACTIVE if it was code compliant when installed.
    The thing you and John need to remember is that home inspectors ARE NOT CODE INSPECTORS.

    That means that home inspectors are able to state their professional opinion, and if UL no longer allows a given practice, and the NEC no longer allows that same practice, then YOU (and John - oh, and Richard) CAN PUT YOUR MONEY ON THE LINE, but home inspector can side with UL and the NEC and say "You know, that is no longer considered safe. I recommend you replace it."

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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Pultar View Post
    perfect responce

    Richard,

    Yes, your post was a "perfect responce" and consistent with your previous *responses*.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Opinions are like fingers ... most folks have a handfull of them.

    A casual review of any 'consumer' body will reveal sundry complaints along the lines of "he sold me something I didn't need." Or, alternatively, "the crook did unnecessary work."

    Might end up in court? Might? That's a given ... one "can" be sued for any reason - or none at all. One can find attorneys literally working both sides of the same issue; my personal favorite is the one who wanted to represent owners whose new homes lacked AFCI's (not to current code) as well as those whose homes did (nuisance tripping, obviously defective, etc.).

    As Confuscious say: "Man who drive looking over shoulder go bad place." Or something like that.

    It's one thing to say something is broke .... and another to say it should have / could have been done differently.

    Lose a sale? I hate to say this, but I've only had two, out of hundreds, of 'home inspection' reports result in any work being performed. I simply won't respond to requests for estimates in such circumstances. Why? Because nobody seems to give a fig, after the deal is closed. It's simply game playing.

    For all the 'expertise' asserted by various home inspectors, I can't help but note the disclaimers and releases they have their customers stipulate to. Whatever I find or don't find, however erroneous or incomplete my inspection may be, any damage resulting from my inspection, no matter the effect on the sale, they're not responsible. Or, so they assert. Looks to me like someone isn't as sure of their expertise after all.

    Excuse me? That's like a sidewalk contractor asking to be released, in advance, whether the walk is made or not, in the right place or not, whether it sets or not. Try to find any licensed contractor who can get away with that sort of disclaimer!

    I was once a witness ... as such, I was careful to distinguish between what I actually saw, and what I inferred. Such is lacking in most 'this is wrong' assertions. If you can't point to some code or standard, all you have is your opinion .... yet this distinction is rarely made.

    So what if you don't like something! It not anyones' role to try to do someones' thinking for them.

    In the case of this panel, it's obviously damaged, and ought to be repaired. That's all that can be said for sure. Whether another make would have been a better choice, or that the product may have changed over time, isn't the issue.

    "What may have caused it" is getting into an engineering analysis - well beyond the scope of an inspection. Someone wants to come and inspect the repair, that is an entirely different matter, to be discussed at that time. Speculation is usually best avoided.

    As for courts, I'll stick to the "Good Book's" advice, and avoid them at all costs. If a man has little experience with them, it's fair to question his knowledge. If he has much, it's fair to question his judgment.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Very well stated john.

    Good points all around.

    Best

    Ron


  27. #27
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    Exclamation Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    I was going to stop at a few home on the street of my inspection. ask an owner if he would open his panel up and let me look. off the record. There is a 200 home track that looks like they all have this same panel.

    Best

    Ron
    FYI
    Are you going to have the homeowner sign your preinspection agreement? You'll want your insurance to cover you, off the record.


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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by PETER W BENNETT View Post
    FYI
    Are you going to have the homeowner sign your preinspection agreement? You'll want your insurance to cover you, off the record.
    Peter,

    To cover Ron for what?

    He is not doing anything for which his E&O would have to address.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Peter,

    To cover Ron for what?

    He is not doing anything for which his E&O would have to address.
    Jerry

    That is what I would have said. I figured you would have been on the side of protect yourself at all cost.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I figured you would have been on the side of protect yourself at all cost.
    Ted,

    Protect myself from what?

    The only liability you would have would be if you bumped into something in their home and broke it, or, (oh-no!) you fell into the panel and got shocked, and E&O would not cover either of those anyway.

    You would not be offering any opinions, you would be stating "matters of fact", i.e., "yep, this panel is overheated similarly to the panel in this photo", or, "nope, I do not see signs of overheating similar to the panel in this photo". You are comparing "A" to "B", and you have a photo of specimen "A" right in your hands, either specimen "B" looks like it or it does not.

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    That statement was just from a good portion of your posts that say protect yourself, the lawyer is coming, get something signed or so on. Thats all. No dig intended.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    That statement was just from a good portion of your posts that say protect yourself, the lawyer is coming, get something signed or so on. Thats all. No dig intended.
    I understood that.

    I was just explaining that the difference is ... dare I repeat it ... "He is not doing anything for which his E&O would have to address." and "The only liability you would have would be if you bumped into something in their home and broke it, or, (oh-no!) you fell into the panel and got shocked, and E&O would not cover either of those anyway.".

    There are, during the course of a home inspection, many, many, things which can go bump in the night and scare the bejeevies out of you.

    In the above case, however, the lights are on, the monsters are all tucked away in their beds, and those noises making such a clatter on the roof top does not matter.

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  33. #33
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    "noises making such a clatter on the roof top does not matter"


    Are we talking Santa here.

    Santa does not matter?


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    "noises making such a clatter on the roof top does not matter"


    Are we talking Santa here.

    Santa does not matter?
    .
    Santa Don't Matter?

    Better Take That Back Ted !
    .



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  35. #35
    William Galbraith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Why not put a load on the circuit and inspect it with an infrared camera and amp meter?


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    .
    Santa Don't Matter?

    Better Take That Back Ted !
    .
    Was that your baby picture. Don't be mad or sad little Billy. I did have a question mark after what I said. Besides, we all know Santa is real now don't we ? Shoot, he use to let me borrow his suit for years.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    .
    Was that your baby picture.
    .
    .
    Naw,

    Tourist Took That of Me last Week Right After He asked if Elvis was Really Dead !
    *
    got 40 bucks for the camera.
    .
    .

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  38. #38
    Bernardo Golner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Hi everybody,
    From my understanding:
    Old panel was melted down, new panel should meet latest code requirements.
    Somebody replaced old panel, an electrical contractor ?
    Bank paid to inspect the finished job (panel changed).
    Acordingly licensed people should verify that the specific job was properly done. Safety of people pending on that.
    The good and right question done:
    Anybody has an idea about the cause of the problem ?
    Yes or no ?
    My guess:
    1) Old panel designed for old loads, new higher simultaneusly demand cause over heat in one or more components transfering heat to others too.
    2) Faulty or loose componet transfering heat and bla, bla...

    For the scenario 1) replacing the panel may not be only one necesary solution.
    Whoever geting paid during this process is at least "moral" responsible to let the homeowner and bank that is paing for the job, know that other causes downstream may be the root of the problem.
    License electrical contractor, energized panel, full load during a few minutes with a clamp meter and infrared camera or thermometer should be enough to "disipate" any concern.
    Regards.
    Bernardo


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernardo Golner View Post
    My guess:
    1) Old panel designed for old loads, new higher simultaneusly demand cause over heat in one or more components transfering heat to others too.
    An old 100 amp breaker is rated to safely carry 100 amps, just like a new 100 amp breaker is.

    An old 100 amp bus bar breaker tab is rated to safely carry (usually, anyway) 150 amps, just like most new ones are.

    Adding new loads would not overheat anything, the breaker would simply trip. Presuming that everything is working properly.

    2) Faulty or loose componet transfering heat and bla, bla...
    That will do it every time.

    For the scenario 1) replacing the panel may not be only one necesary solution.
    The only reason to replace the original panel in this case is because it melted down.

    If the 100 amp breaker was tripping, then that would be a different story.

    Whoever geting paid during this process is at least "moral" responsible to let the homeowner and bank that is paing for the job, know that other causes downstream may be the root of the problem.
    There should be no other causes, not unless the 100 amp breaker was tripping, in which case the 100 amp breaker would trip and nothing would melt down.

    Being as it melted down, the cause is not outside the panel.

    License electrical contractor, energized panel, full load during a few minutes with a clamp meter and infrared camera or thermometer should be enough to "disipate" any concern.
    No concern needs to be dissipated, but the heat did from that loose connection/defective bus/defective breaker.

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  40. #40
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Hi again,
    For me, the rating, is assigned on "LAB" conditions, meaning instalation conditions, temperature, moisture, etc, and there is no lab conditions anywhere out there, we take them as a reference to look for the posible causes.
    Breaker, on my knowledge is generally designed with a time/amp response curve for protection of wiring and equipment, sensing long time overloads (hours) usually of about 30 % amps or more, and short time overloads about 10 times amps to infinite (miliseconds short circuit).
    No breaker in my knowledge carry a life time warranty, because with normal (or abnormal) aging the constructive materials of the device suffer deterioration on the electrical and mechanical parameters. Every single fault triping the breaker cause in it a premature deterioration, including also the arc/heat/overload for a "normal" turnining off and on with load, and whatever a lab testing you perform on it, too.
    Isn't uncommon to find breakers that after a fault go "permanent on" or "permanent off" because deterioration in the mechanism, melted contacts, etc.
    Keep in mind instalations were designed 30 years ago for half the electrical equipment average homeowners have today, continuos long time overheat below or above the rated threshold during many years may cause the breaker' fasten mechanism to loose, (it didn't get loose by itself) the false contact make an arc between the bar and breaker and the extra heat generated do the rest.
    Finally for the own curiosity isn't a too bad idea to take a look at panels on those other similar houses, can give you an idea or reference about added breakers (meaning added equipment in the houses).
    Regards.
    Bernardo


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernardo Golner View Post
    For the scenario 1) replacing the panel may not be only one necesary solution.
    Whoever geting paid during this process is at least "moral" responsible to let the homeowner and bank that is paing for the job, know that other causes downstream may be the root of the problem.
    Bernardo,

    What you have described in the following is all "within" the panel.

    As I stated, there is no need to go "downstream" of the panel - the problem is within the panel, breakers, contacts, etc., but still "within" the panel. *Something* overheated "in the panel", the cause could be loose contacts, damaged contacts, damaged breaker tab, defective breaker, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernardo Golner View Post
    Hi again,
    For me, the rating, is assigned on "LAB" conditions, meaning instalation conditions, temperature, moisture, etc, and there is no lab conditions anywhere out there, we take them as a reference to look for the posible causes.
    Breaker, on my knowledge is generally designed with a time/amp response curve for protection of wiring and equipment, sensing long time overloads (hours) usually of about 30 % amps or more, and short time overloads about 10 times amps to infinite (miliseconds short circuit).
    No breaker in my knowledge carry a life time warranty, because with normal (or abnormal) aging the constructive materials of the device suffer deterioration on the electrical and mechanical parameters. Every single fault triping the breaker cause in it a premature deterioration, including also the arc/heat/overload for a "normal" turnining off and on with load, and whatever a lab testing you perform on it, too.
    Isn't uncommon to find breakers that after a fault go "permanent on" or "permanent off" because deterioration in the mechanism, melted contacts, etc.
    Keep in mind instalations were designed 30 years ago for half the electrical equipment average homeowners have today, continuos long time overheat below or above the rated threshold during many years may cause the breaker' fasten mechanism to loose, (it didn't get loose by itself) the false contact make an arc between the bar and breaker and the extra heat generated do the rest.
    Finally for the own curiosity isn't a too bad idea to take a look at panels on those other similar houses, can give you an idea or reference about added breakers (meaning added equipment in the houses).
    Regards.
    Bernardo
    By the way, your reference to "LAB" conditions is not what you are thinking.

    The "LAB" is testing things in unfriendly environments, under maximum conditions, conditions that, in all likelihood, will not be seen in the real world except in certain locations and conditions.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I keep trying to get you to understand that home inspectors are not bound by what was legal once upon a time ... that if current thinking and standards have decided that it is not as safe as it should be, and have thus since changed it, then it is the home inspectors job to report it.

    Period.
    I know you and I have had discussions on this topic before but what legislation gives that authority?

    Don't all states have their own regulations on what a HI reports?

    I have heard from clients of HI over the years saying that a HI reported that their home was not compliant and I have to explain to them that the house may be compliant if the structure was built to code at the time of construction.

    I think too many HI make it sound like the structure needs to be brought up to current codes when that is not true.

    Again, what laws/rules say that a HI has to report items that were to code at the time the structure was built but is no longer accepted leaving the homeowner thinking they need to repair/change specific items? Please give me documentation and not just yours and others opinions.

    Wayne


  43. #43
    Bernardo Golner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Jerry,
    Overheat because added equipment downstream, meaning higher simultaneosly load, over long time, one cause. Overheat because faulty or loose component, another cause. Plain as that.
    Good to know for sure what cause the melting.
    Panel replaced.
    Good to know that is not going to happen again because foreseeable reason. Good for the knowledge and the open mind to investigate that cause.
    Santa does exist,
    He delivers toys (made in the north pole by elves and mostly China) and joy to millons of kids (and adults) every year, feeding millons of workers all around the globe, from toy factories to freighters, sales people, administrative, and in the opinion of many can help fix a little the already stomp american economy.
    I want to believe....
    I got a present for myself, the last completed, deluxe, limited, remasterized Pink Floyd CD collection edition last year.
    Bernardo


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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    I know you and I have had discussions on this topic before but what legislation gives that authority?

    Don't all states have their own regulations on what a HI reports?

    I have heard from clients of HI over the years saying that a HI reported that their home was not compliant and I have to explain to them that the house may be compliant if the structure was built to code at the time of construction.

    I think too many HI make it sound like the structure needs to be brought up to current codes when that is not true.

    Again, what laws/rules say that a HI has to report items that were to code at the time the structure was built but is no longer accepted leaving the homeowner thinking they need to repair/change specific items? Please give me documentation and not just yours and others opinions.

    Wayne
    From the TREC website link to the Texas administrative code:

    : Texas Administrative Code

    (b) Scope.

    (1) The standards of practice are the minimum levels of inspection practice required of inspectors for the accessible parts, components, and systems typically found in improvements to real property, excluding detached structures, decks, docks and fences. The inspector may provide a higher level of inspection performance than required by the standards of practice and may inspect parts, components, and systems in addition to those described by the standards of practice.

    Minimum standards with a provision specifically allowing reporting to a higher level.
    Also, the new SOP will REQUIRE reporting things that are still CODE compliant but are smart upgrades (i.e. AFCI, GFCI, Smoke detectors, etc.)

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    I keep trying to get you to understand that home inspectors are not bound by what was legal once upon a time ... that if current thinking and standards have decided that it is not as safe as it should be, and have thus since changed it, then it is the home inspectors job to report it.

    Period.



    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    I know you and I have had discussions on this topic before but what legislation gives that authority?

    Don't all states have their own regulations on what a HI reports?
    No, many states do not have home inspector licensing, and, many which do only provide "minimum" standards for which the inspector shall meet, and *very few* (TN being one if I recall correctly) "prohibit" some things, like making reference to code.

    Thus, there is nothing (in most cases) which prohibits the home inspector from acting in the best interest of their client, and, failing to act in the best interest of their client sets the home inspector up for litigation by their client toward the home inspector.

    That is "the authority" behind it. Basic legal premise that a person performing a service for their client is to perform that service to at least minimum standards required by law, to at least to a standard which 50% plus 1 of local inspectors apply (that becomes the defacto "standard of care" for that area), and, to the best of the ability of the person performing that service. Doing less sets you up for having no defense against a legal action against you by your client.

    I have heard from clients of HI over the years saying that a HI reported that their home was not compliant and I have to explain to them that the house may be compliant if the structure was built to code at the time of construction.
    I seriously doubt that a home inspector stated the "home was not compliant" as the home inspector has no enforcement power to make anything compliant. The home inspector may have said it does not meet the standard of today, which are there for reasons of safety, etc., and that those items should be corrected - that is nothing but doing what is in the best interests of the client, the home inspector cannot enforce anything, simply point out conditions which are not right and not safe.

    I think too many HI make it sound like the structure needs to be brought up to current codes when that is not true.
    I think that is what the client hears in an attempt to try to extract as much money as possible from the seller. The home inspector is stating that is "should" be corrected, and, yes, "it needs to be corrected" to meet current safety standards, and, yes, if the seller does not pay for it, then it becomes the buyers responsibility to cover the burden.

    Remember, if the home inspector does not call it out, the condition goes unreported, the next home inspector may well call it out, then the seller may try to go back to their home inspector.

    Let's take an example of a 1920 house with no GFCIs installed. *Should* GFCIs be installed? Absolutely! *Should* the home inspector report it? Absolutely! *Should* the client (buyer) have GFCI protection installed? Absolutely!

    Should the seller pay for it? Ah ... that gets into the contract between the buyer and the seller, and the buyer may come looking to you, the municipal inspector, for backup to use to get the seller to pay for it. That is where you say what you are saying 'Well ... GFCI protection *was not required* when the house was built.'

    Would you, however, tell that person that 'GFCI protection *is not needed*?

    That is entirely a different question, and that is the question the home inspector is addressing.

    'Yes, GFCI protection *is needed*.

    Again, what laws/rules say that a HI has to report items that were to code at the time the structure was built but is no longer accepted
    You've asked a convoluted question, mixing two separate concepts.

    The code at the time *did not address* the issue.

    The current code *requires* the issue. The current code does not *require* it "just because", the current code *requires* it because *the old way* was proven to not be safe/not safe enough, and, (to answer the last part of your question) ...

    ... the *old way* "is no longer accepted".

    Now, if you would like, I can post the NEC code sections (in the GFCI example above) showing that *not having GFCI* at those locations is *no longer accepted*, but you don't need me to show you that, you already know that.

    *THAT IS* what your question was asking, and *THAT IS* the code and documentation behind it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernardo Golner View Post
    Jerry,
    Overheat because added equipment downstream
    No, the breaker tab is rated for that.

    It overheated because the breaker failed to trip ... or the breaker/breaker tab connection was poor ... or there was another defect within the panel.

    All electrical panels are rated far and above what the approved maximum breaker will allow within the tripping range of a properly functioning breaker.

    Plain as that.
    Yep, "plain as that".

    Even if the circuit conductors overheated, with properly sized overcurrent protection, they will not overheat and cause a problem, as long as they are not bundled, lack of maintaining spacing, etc., also.

    Adding 'extra' downstream will do not harm as long as the overcurrent rating is properly sized for the rating of the conductors, devices, panels, etc., down stream of the overcurrent protection - provided the overcurrent protection is properly functioning. When the overcurrent stops properly functioning, the problem is not "downstream", the problem is "the overcurrent protective device".

    You could have a 100 amp breaker and connect up a 300 amp piece of equipment, the 100 amp breaker *SHOULD* trip, thus there is no problem in any of the wiring downstream of the 100 amp breaker (if all is rated properly).

    If the 100 amp breaker does not trip, then it (probably is an FPE ) is the breaker which is faulty. Still "within" the panel.

    Of course, though, if you have 60 amp rated conductors on that 100 amp breaker, yeah, there will be a problem downstream. But, again, it is not an "equipment problem" it is because the circuit conductors were undersized or the overcurrent protection was oversized.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Thanks for both replies. It makes perfect sense.
    As you stated Jerry, It's what the client wants to here! Not what is actually said.

    Thanks for the explanation and the information.

    Wayne


  48. #48
    Shannon Guinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Interesting read guys. Jerry P, you are going to have to teach me how to do that multi-quote thing, I am so envious!


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Peter,

    To cover Ron for what?

    He is not doing anything for which his E&O would have to address.
    Jerry, assuming his E&O covers him for conducting an inspection with a written agreement, then he may not be covered. BTW, my E&O only covers me with a written agreement.

    My concern is that Ron is asking a homeowner, who's probably not a licensed electrician to remove the panel cover so Ron can peak in, i.e., "inspecting". Although this is an informal, off the record inspection, what would happen if:
    1. Ron states there's something wrong and recommends further evaluation then the homeowner's electrician says there's nothing. Ron gets a bill. Hopefully, not a big deal.
    2. Ron states there's nothing wrong and then the homeowner decides to have his electrician double check, and there actually is. Ron gets a big bill.

    Just my two cents.
    Peter


  50. #50
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon Guinn View Post
    Interesting read guys. Jerry P, you are going to have to teach me how to do that multi-quote thing, I am so envious!

    Shannon,

    When you click the quote to quote a message, you type in [/quote] at the end of what you want to include in that portion of the quote.

    To start another portion of the quote, just type in [quote]. The end is already there.

    If you want more than one portion, type those at the beginning of each portion of the quote and at the end of each portion of the quote.

    When you put the beginning quote and the ending quote together, this is what you get:
    you get a quote


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  51. #51
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Peter,

    You are taking that way too far and assuming way too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by PETER W BENNETT View Post
    My concern is that Ron is asking a homeowner, who's probably not a licensed electrician to remove the panel cover so Ron can peak in,
    My understanding is that Ron would remove the panel cover.

    1. Ron states there's something wrong and recommends further evaluation
    Ron will not be looking for "something wrong", Ron will be looking to see if their panel is: 1) the same manufacturer as the other panel; 2) the same melting is taking place. Ron then simply documents it, telling the homeowner that this panel shows the same melting as the other panel(s) like this in this neighborhood that he has seen, then recommend that if the homeowner is going to have an electrician come out and look at it, have them inspect the panel for other things' adding 'there are some suspicious things in there. If there is a problem, and if the homeowner calls an electrician, and if the electrician says nothing is wrong, Ron *has the photo* to show there is, in which case I would take the electrician's letter (saying nothing is wrong is not good enough, the electrician needs to put it in writing) and take the photo and the letter to the local building department. THEY can straighten out the electrician.

    Remember Ron *IS NOT THERE TO INSPECT* the panel, he is only there to see if the same overheating and melting problem is there.

    2. Ron states there's nothing wrong
    Ron does not state "nothing is wrong", Ron simply states 'Good, the overheating and melting I have seen in other panels like this in this neighborhood is not present here, I did not look for anything else. If you want your electrical panel inspected, I could do it as part of a full inspection, or you could call an electrician.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  52. #52
    Shannon Guinn's Avatar
    Shannon Guinn Guest

    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Shannon,

    When you click the quote to quote a message, you type in
    at the end of what you want to include in that portion of the quote.[/quote]

    To start another portion of the quote, just type in [quote]. The end is already there.

    If you want more than one portion, type those at the beginning of each portion of the quote and at the end of each portion of the quote.
    Thanks Jerry, now all I have to do is find something to multi-quote!

    Last edited by Shannon Guinn; 12-04-2008 at 11:43 AM.

  53. #53
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon Guinn View Post
    at the end of what you want to include in that portion of the quote.
    To start another portion of the quote, just type in [quote]. The end is already there.

    [quote]If you want more than one portion, type those at the beginning of each portion of the quote and at the end of each portion of the quote.

    Thanks Jerry, now all I have to do is find something to multi-quote!
    [quote]If you want more than one portion, type those at the beginning of each portion of the quote and at the end of each portion of the quote.[quote]

    You forgot the forward slash in the above quote at the end right before the q on quote!

    Also you can copy and paste within each post even though I haven't found a tab for it within the icons on top here! Highlight the area you want to copy then use the Ctrl C to Copy.....then use Ctrl V to paste.


  54. #54
    Shannon Guinn's Avatar
    Shannon Guinn Guest

    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    You forgot the forward slash in the above quote at the end right before the q on quote!

    Also you can copy and paste within each post even though I haven't found a tab for it within the icons on top here! Highlight the area you want to copy then use the Ctrl C to Copy.....then use Ctrl V to paste.
    quote=Wayne Carlisle;64219]
    You forgot the forward slash in the above quote at the end right before the q on quote!

    Also you can copy and paste within each post even though I haven't found a tab for it within the icons on top here! Highlight the area you want to copy then use the Ctrl C to Copy.....then use Ctrl V to paste.[/quote]

    Hey thanks for the added info! I'm batting a thousand on free info today.


  55. #55
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Shannon,

    You forgot the front [.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  56. #56
    William Galbraith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Poor connections cause more damage and fires than overloaded circuits.


  57. #57
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by William Galbraith View Post
    Poor connections cause more damage and fires than overloaded circuits.

    So true, because, if the overcurrent protection is functioning properly, the overloaded circuit would trip/blow the overcurrent protection.

    Now, put a penny behind that fuse, or wrap a Safe-T-Fuse in aluminum foil, and you now have an overloaded circuit ready to start a fire, but that is *only because of* the tampered with overcurrent protection.

    I say that knowing that even low voltage circuit can, when things do not go right, cause fires if supplied by transformers with sufficient capacity to do to, but, that has nothing to do with being "overloaded", it has to do with "failing" (for a variety of reasons).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  58. #58
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    I would be very concerned about a liability "catch 22" by performing unsolicited "observations" of panels in additional homes. I think I would address my public safety responsibility by informing the local authority of the situation and my concern.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES
    (936)827-7664


  59. #59
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    I would be very concerned about a liability "catch 22" by performing unsolicited "observations" of panels in additional homes. I think I would address my public safety responsibility by informing the local authority of the situation and my concern.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES
    (936)827-7664
    Darrel. Do you think the fire Dept. should do random checks on home ?

    They do this on offices. I have never had them open my Panel but they look at just about everything else in the office.

    And if one were to go to a house and the owner was to open up his panel and find a problem like what we see in this post? this just may save his life.

    Just trying to understand what we as inspectors should do if we see something odd.

    Best

    Ron

    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 12-05-2008 at 09:38 AM.

  60. #60
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    I think I would be neglecting a moral duty if I said or did nothing with the knowledge that the public may be at risk. However, I see Peter's point in post #49 above as a financial risk to my company. Also, in Texas, when I tell a neighbor why I want to examine his panel, I may be violating the ethical restriction about confidentiality of the content of a client's inspection report, but I'm not sure about this concern.

    I think we pay our taxes to support agencies that are responsible for public safety, and that my role as a responsible citizen is to identify situations to those agencies. I have to assume the members of those agencies have the training and motivation to do what is appropriate to protect public safety. I see only a difference of severity in this situation and in vigilantes. Just my humble opinion.

    By the way, sometimes I think vigilantes have the right idea.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES
    (936)827-7664


  61. #61
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Thanks Darrel. you post got me to thinking. I ride bikes (Harley's) with the City of Windsor Fire Chief. The same town the i saw my panel in and he is the man I'm going to go see in about an 1HR. I will post my conversation with him whin i get back.

    Thanks for the IDEA. good one.

    Best

    Ron

    This hits home as my Sisters home just went up in smoke the other night as some jerks were messing around in her shed at 1:00PM And after they got what they wanted they set her Home on fire. She and my brother
    in-law just got out in time as a lady was banging on there door get your house is on fire! get out!! get out !!! all for some old junk.


  62. #62
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Also, in Texas, when I tell a neighbor why I want to examine his panel, I may be violating the ethical restriction about confidentiality of the content of a client's inspection report, but I'm not sure about this concern.
    As long as you are not sharing specific reports about a specific property, I think there would be no issue of confidentiality. If you withhold the address and name of you client, their confidentiality is maintained. Kind of like posting a picture on this forum. Not legal advice, just common sense.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  63. #63
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Just got back from the fire Dept meeting with Fire Chief. I printed up copies of the the 2 panels and gave them to Him. his eyes went wide open. he is going to past the buck to the City Build Dept. as this is under there (review and information Guy).

    So I think for me i did my part they have the sub-division that has all of these panels and they have the photos.

    Will see how this plays out.

    Best

    Ron


  64. #64
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    Default Re: Here's something I came across on a panel replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Also, in Texas, when I tell a neighbor why I want to examine his panel, I may be violating the ethical restriction about confidentiality of the content of a client's inspection report, but I'm not sure about this concern.
    First, don't you get their permission to talk to 3rd parties? If not, you should.

    If not, then ... er ... um ... why do you discuss ANY of their information here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    Just got back from the fire Dept meeting with Fire Chief. I printed up copies of the the 2 panels and gave them to Him. his eyes went wide open. he is going to past the buck to the City Build Dept. as this is under there (review and information Guy).

    So I think for me i did my part they have the sub-division that has all of these panels and they have the photos.

    Ron,

    Great job and a good way to handle it when you know the people. Just another example of the payoffs of getting to know your local building department (and in this case - fire department) officials.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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